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Davis, California

Monday, July 22, 2024

On-campus COVID-19 testing officially ends, updated booster compliance rate drops

Nearly three years after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, UC Davis has ended on-campus PCR testing, although the city of Davis continues to track the virus through wastewater testing


By LEV FERRIS GOLDBERG — campus@theaggie.org


As winter quarter begins, the COVID-19 landscape at UC Davis looks very different than it did a year ago.

The university has scaled back many pandemic responses — as of Dec. 14, 2022, Healthy Davis Together’s saliva-based testing on campus has come to an end.

Reported COVID-19 cases on campus reached their lowest point in several months during December, according to the Campus Ready website. The drop in cases comes after UC Davis eliminated the campus testing requirement prior to fall quarter, meaning that some cases may have gone unreported.

UC Davis reached nearly a 100% vaccination rate last year, but as of Jan. 17, only 26% of students and 29% of campus employees have made the decision to receive all of the boosters currently approved, according to the UC Davis COVID-19 Dashboard.

Last fall, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the most recent booster, known as the “bivalent booster,” for ages five and older. The CDC updated eligibility to include everyone six months and older in December.

Boosters and third doses can be scheduled through UC Davis Health, and vaccination status can be updated on the Health-e-Messaging portal.

Antigen tests are available for pickup through March at the Memorial Union, Student Health and Wellness Center and the front desks at the ARC and Shields Library. In addition, according to the Campus Ready website, students in residence halls can find antigen test kits at their respective Area Service desk, which are located in each residence hall area and operated by student staff who are trained to help assist students with questions about the residence halls.

For community saliva testing, Yolo County testing sites have availability.

Since Healthy Davis Together shut down testing locations on campus, data on COVID-19 levels in the community now comes primarily from wastewater testing.

According to Dr. Aimee Sisson, Yolo County’s health officer, the level of COVID-19 virus found in Davis wastewater has reached an all-time high. Sisson reported the rise to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Sisson said that she credits the increase to the new Omicron subvariant, XBB.1.5. And while recorded campus and community case rates remain low, that could in part be due to the end of Healthy Davis Together’s PCR testing. The county’s case rate of 7.9 cases per 100,000 residents per day is likely a significant underestimation, according to Sisson.

“I continue to recommend four actions,” Sisson told the Board of Supervisors. “Vaccination against flu and COVID; wearing a mask indoors; regular hand washing; and staying home when you’re sick.”


Written by: Lev Ferris Goldberg — campus@theaggie.org